Page 20 THE VILLADOM TIMES I & III • September 30, 2009 ‘The Informant!’ is an entertaining character study by Dennis Seuling Mark Whitacre (Matt Damon) is an executive at Archer Daniels Midland, a Midwest firm specializing in corn derivatives. A biochemist, Mark has been made head of a unit to mass produce a new product, but results have been contaminated, and the heads of the company are getting impatient. Under pressure to discover the problem, Mark makes an allegation about overseas competitors that leads to an FBI investigation. Mark tells the agents (Scott Bakula, Joel McHale) ADM has been fixing prices for years, and he believes they have set him up as the fall guy in the event the company’s illegal business practices are uncovered. This initiates a years-long stint for Mark as an inside informant. Amazingly inept at spying, he becomes a sort of Jerry Lewis of the undercover world. He still manages to do the job, primarily because no one imagines this company guy could ever be an inside man for a sophisticated undercover FBI investigation. Director Steven Soderbergh (“Erin Brockovich”) based “The Informant!” on actual events and adopted a light touch, ably assisted by a merry pop score by Marvin Hamlisch. The many twists, turns, and unexpected revelations along the way make the tale ever more surprising. Soder- State Line 375 State Highway 17 North, Mahwah Open 24 Hours, 7 Days Join Us For Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner The Best Got Better! Mark Whitacre (Matt Damon) is a corporate executive who knows about illegal activities at his company in ‘The Informant!’ Diner - Restaurant 201-529-3353 Now Serving Cocktails, Espresso & Cappuccino $ 00 On $10.00 and over. With this coupon only. One Coupon per table. 5:00 to 9:00 pm only. Off 1 $ 00 VT On $20.00 and over. With this coupon only. One Coupon per table. 5:00 to 9:00 pm only. Off 2 VT bergh walks a fine line between drama, comedy, and farce, never fully committing to any of them, but blending them in way that works effectively and makes the movie fresh. The lion’s share of credit must go to Damon, who creates a memorable portrait of an enigmatic individual. His physical appearance has been altered considerably from the Jason Bourne films. A good thirty pounds heavier, Damon’s Mark sports a thin moustache and looks lumpy and older in boxy suits and loud ties. He speaks to his associates with intense concern about company setbacks, and with wideeyed intensity as he is questioned by the authorities. He conveys genuine geekiness. Mark is the kind of fellow who is too mainstream, too dedicated to his job and family, to veer off the straight and narrow. Or is he? Mark’s wife, Ginger (Melanie Lynskey), is his staunchest supporter. From time to time, she is shown at his side, listening to his concerns and fears that he is being put in a compromising position by his superiors, and his plans to get through a sticky situation. Ginger doesn’t say a lot, but she is clearly made of sturdy stuff and can weather a personal storm. Bakula plays FBI Special Agent Brian Shepard as straight man to the Buster Keatonesque Mark as he blurts out one new revelation after another, changing perceptions, throwing suspicion from one character to another, and placing himself in the role of hero, victim, or villain, depending on whether these revelations can be believed. Bakula’s facial expressions convey his wonderment, contributing some very funny moments. Without any extraneous or self-indulgent scenes, director Soderbergh has crafted a lean, smooth-flowing film that keeps the viewer engaged and fascinated by Mark Whitacre. This is not a broad slapstick comedy, but the film delivers humor in the way a mousy man manages to play people, companies, lawyers, and his own ambitions in a strangely fascinating game. The exclamation point in the title suggests that the film has a cartoonish aspect, and Mark’s exploits are reminiscent of the way Roadrunner consistently oneups Wile E. Coyote. “The Informant!” elicits lots of smiles and an occasional chuckle due to the cleverness of a man who, under normal circumstances, would merely blend into the background. Rated R for strong language, “The Informant!” is an entertaining character study, and marks the first of the fall films to focus on story and characterization rather than car chases and explosions. Reservations Suggested OKTOBERFEST OKTOBER Now thru October 31st Presents Our 40th Annual K IR KERS INN German Beers ON TAP Cook Up Some Business! Advertise your restaurant in The Villadom TIMES. You’ll reach 56,300 households. 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